Irish technology transfer initiative receives €34.5m for phase three

17 Jan 2017

From left: Director of Knowledge Transfer Ireland, Alison Campbell; Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan, TD; Enterprise Ireland’s divisional manager for research and innovation, Gearóid Mooney. Image: Colm Mahady/Fennells

Ireland’s knowledge transfer system is changing, with a fresh injection of €34.5m to handle the third stage of the Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative in the country.

Aimed at simplifying the process between industry and research, the Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative (TTSI) is beginning a new five-year phase.

TTSI is a 10-year-old Enterprise Ireland programme that financially supports research organisations throughout the country, helping them protect their intellectual property.

Managed by Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), it helps to connect research institutes with industry, providing a link to help licence and research agreements get off the ground.

The programme provides funding to technology transfer offices that support research institutions, aiding development of the knowledge transfer profession and the work it does. In doing so, the programme claims to act as an accelerator for commercialisation of research that would not otherwise be possible.

KTI has helped 31 spin-out companies through its activities, though the hundreds of research agreements (748) and licensing agreements (206) is perhaps a better example of its work.

Alison Campbell, director of KTI, spoke of her happiness that the programme has been backed for a further five years, noting Ireland’s “tremendous strides” in this area to date.

“This round of funding will build on this success and help deliver stronger resources in the field,” she said.

“With support now in place until 2021, I am confident we can further develop the process of research commercialisation and work with our partners in industry to make it as simple and accessible as possible.”

The latest phase of the programme will enable an interface of skilled and experienced people within research-performing organisations. The funding will ensure ongoing commercialisation of publicly funded research,“including the development of richer and more attractive industry-investor IP portfolios”.

An example of what the programme has achieved came in December, when Origin Enterprises and University College Dublin established a research partnership worth almost €18m. Between them, the duo hope to create crop models which incorporate data analytical approaches that optimise sustainable crop performance.

Elsewhere, DIT Hothouse spin-out Kastus raised €1.5m in investment the same month, with Atlantic Bridge involved.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic